HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6: in-depth specs comparison
Metal can take many shapes and forms, which is why the HTC One M9 and the iPhone 6 have distinctive, iconic designs, despite sharing their material DNA. The One M9 follows HTC's well established all-metal design line, and it does so in a safe, a bit overtly familiar way. At first sight, it's a little bit difficult to tell the M9 and its predecessor apart, but at some point you will surely notice that the M9 looks more like that melded the best elements of the HTC One (M7) and One (M8). With ancestors like these, there's no way the M9 could possibly turn up ugly - and it is, without questions, another extremely impressive smartphone from HTC and another candidate for the most sharp-dressed Android around. Measuring 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61mm and weighing in at 157g, it's hardly the slimmest phone out there, but to those of you that prefer their smartphones with a bit of a healty heft to them, it must be a godsend.
As for the iPhone 6, its anodized aluminum body looks as great as it always did. It doesn't have HTC's front-firing stereo speakers, neither it sports those wonderfully thin side bezels, but it's an unquestionable looker nevertheless. It measures a 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm, it is quite a bit smaller and slimmer than the M9, but it also dons a smaller screen, so don't forget to take that into account. The iPhone 6 also has a Home button with an embedded fingerprint sensor - keep that in mind if you are on the lookout for fingerprint security!
Shunning resolution and pixel density extremities, the HTC One M9 flaunts a perfectly good 5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display. We will really have to put it through our display test procedures to get an accurate assessment of its properties, but for the most part, things look really really good on it! HTC is pretty good at tuning those displays for natural, if slightly cold colors, in addition to getting them all nice and bright, so we have some good expectations towards the M9's display performance!
Meanwhile, the iPhone 6 makes do with a 4.7-inch LCD display tuned to a typically weird Apple resolution of 750x1334 pixels. Weird the resolution may be, and it may have a lower pixel density at 326 pixels per inch (the HTC One M9 dials it up to 440ppi), but anyone who's seen an iPhone 6 in person will tell you that its laminated display looks mighty fine! And that's the truth - sufficiently bright and reasonably color-accurate, the iPhone 6's display is another successful Apple & LG Display production!
The HTC One M9 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop topped off with the HTC Sense 7 interface. It's one of the prettiest and fastest custom interfaces to grace the Google-y operating system. Sense has both the visual and response speed sides to almost match iOS in immediacy and design quality. In addition, Sense 7 offers extended personalization options with the use of customizable themes, as well as staples of HTC's user experience, such as BlinkFeed and HTC Zoe. Sense 7 is a delight!
But so is iOS 8. Although that translucent "crystal palace" of a design aesthetic masterminded by Sir Jonny Ive does not appeal to everyone, iOS 8 is very user-friendly (even if some its common features lie hidden in plain sight for some reason), quite fully-featured, and extremely fast on the iPhone 6. There's not much more an Apple devotee could want from it, although Android loyals will be quick to point out the lack of customization options, the limited 3rd party app support, and other quirks Apple's programmers are yet to jump through.
Processor and memory
Continuing its partnership with US chipmaker Qualcomm, HTC enlisted its latest creation - the mighty octa-core Snapdragon 810 - for the duty of powering its 2015 flagship. It gave it a roomy 3GB of RAM, and by resisting the urge to stick a power-hungry 1440p display, HTC practically made the M9 a playground for Qualcomm's fiery chip-beast! We expect really good performance out of the One M9 thanks to its blistering spec sheet. In addition, the M9 has 32 gigabytes of expandable internal storage.
So far, so good! The iPhone 6 looks decidedly "few years ago" with its dual-core A8 chip and barebones 1GB of RAM, but make no mistake, this smartphone packs a punch thanks to Apple's extensive optimization of iOS 8, which saw the addition of the Metal graphics api. It lets recent iPhones output console quality graphics that normally require three times the hardware power to run on Android. Not only that, but the iPhone 6 is just fast in general usage as well. The only thing stopping it dead in its tracks is 4K video - it doesn't record it, and it neither plays it, at least by official means. Meanwhile, the HTC One M9 dances circles around 4K cameras thanks to Qualcomm's efforts in supporting ultra high-resolution content. That, and one more thing.
What was that thing we speak of? Why, it's the HTC One M9's whopping 20MP dual-tone flash camera, which succeeds the HTC One (M8)'s underwhelming 4MP UltraPixel cam - now relocated on the front and playing second fiddle as the selfie cam. The imaging sensor is made by Toshiba and it's said to have square-shaped pixels, which end up being bigger than good ol' rectangular ones and thus have better light-soaking abilities. Now where have we heard that before... oh, well! So far, our experience with the One M9's camera, and the leaked camera samples are both rather promising!
The iPhone 6, though, is stubbornly stuck with the 8MP iSight camera of yesteryea. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - right, Apple? Well, the truth is that the iPhone still comes up with some of the nicest photos you can get out of a smartphone, and that's mostly due to Apple's programmers knowing the camera sensor like the back of their collective hand, pushing it to its best. However, the iPhone is really taking its time getting to the 4K video recording game, not to mention that anyone looking for photos bigger than 8MP will have to jump onto the Android boat for the time being.
The HTC One M9 ships with a 2840mAh non-replaceable battery unit, and we are rather optimistic towards its eventual battery test result. A combination of large capacity battery, 1080p display, and modern, power-efficient processor can only lead to an impressive score! Alas, the One M9 seems to be skipping on the fast charging goodness for now.
As for the iPhone 6, its lesser 1810mAh unit drove it into a disappointing five hours of on-screen action in our battery test result. Nothing is perfect, and if the iPhone 6 has a true Achilles' heel, it has to be its battery life. Then again, that's nothing a decent battery case or power bank cannot resolve.
With the HTC One M9 beginning sales in late Match, Apple will have another gorgeous, powerful flagship Android smartphone stealing the iPhone 6's spotlight to deal with. Then again, with Apple being Apple, we suspect it will be too busy trumpeting the upcoming iWatch as its next big thing to bother with smartphone competition - although with CEO Tim Cook sleeping 4 hours a night, there's no way Apple will turn a blind eye to the competition's ever-increasing efforts!